Best dysfunctional-family play

Pig

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Like the rotting entrails of the butchered animal that someone dumps in the backyard, a Queens family's darkest secrets ooze with stultifying frankness in Pig. But while Tammy Ryan's unflinching drama shines a harsh light on domestic discord, Tracer Productions' close-quarters approach gave artful restraint to the sometimes-gruesome goings-on. That's mostly because Raymond Fernandez's stark setting transformed the now-defunct Shop Theatre into an urban pressure cooker brimming with fear, love and failure. And Christopher Leo's largely hands-off direction imbued the action with intensity without turning the play into a Chekhovian shouting match. Led by a swaggering James Ryan, who summoned an impressive range of emotions as the clan's embittered patriarch, the top-notch performers spoke to the power of parental caprice to make itself felt for generations.

 
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